Leather Britches

Leather Britches

If these logs could only talk they would surely tell of the LEATHER BRITCHES hung here in days gone by.

This was a popular way of preserving (drying) green beans for use in the winter. They would use a large darning needle and thread it with strong thread (I used quilting thread). They would tie the thread around the first bean to keep it from slipping through, I just used an old button tied to the thread. Then they began stringing the beans, one at a time, pushing the needle and thread through the center of each bean and drawing the bean down towards the knotted button, leaving a bit of thread on the other end to use for hanging in a dry place.

The beans become shriveled and wrinkled as they dry. They can be removed from hanging as needed and dropped into a pot of water with perhaps a ham bone or some bacon for flavor. I have been told that we have all but lost the variety of bean that our ancestors used. It had a hull that remained tender during the drying process. When we get moved up here full time, and I can make a garden, I will have to try some heirloom bean varieties and find one suitable to eat after drying. I hear the “Barnes Mountain Cornfield Bean” is a good one.

Until then, I guess mine will only be “decoration”. a great conversation grabber about an older time.

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